When a person discovers that someone else is using their intellectual property without permission, whether it’s an infringement of their copyright, trademark, or some combination of both, one of the first steps to get the offending party to take the content down or stop their activity is to send a Cease and Desist Letter.
A Cease and Desist letter (C & D) is simply a letter, sometimes with evidence attached, that is sent to an individual or business that demands they stop engaging in illegal or unauthorized activity and refrain from restarting such activity in the future. A C & D can also be used to warn the offending party that if they do not stop their activity, further actions might be taken at a specific date or time, such as the filing of a lawsuit.
The hope is that the offending party receives the C & D and complies with the demands within the letter it before the problem escalates further. Or, it may help to start a dialogue with the other party to find a resolution to the infringement that satisfies the copyright or trademark holder (such as working out a licensing agreement, etc.).
However, there are times when a C & D is simply ignored by the other party. What should you do then?
It’s important to first note that many infringers will ignore a C & D. The letter itself does not carry any legal authority per se and there’s no law that requires the recipient to acknowledge or even respond to your demands. An offending party may respond voluntarily because they want to resolve the problem before things get too far out of hand, but there is no legal requirement to do so. The letter really just works to the senders benefit as it may serve as evidence that an infringer has been made aware of your rights and continued to infringe, thus allowing a judge to increase damages assessed against them.
With that said, if the other party ignores your C & D and continues to engage in activity that infringes upon your intellectual property rights, you will likely need to work with an attorney to take legal action and possibly file a lawsuit in federal court. In order to bring such a suit, you will need to be sure that your trademark or copyright is registered on the federal level. If it is not, your attorney will need to help you work through this process before you can go any further.
It’s never pleasant to have to deal with the courts or pay legal fees to assert your intellectual property rights, but sometimes it is the only remedy if the other party is simply ignoring your demands or makes clear that they are unwilling to stop their activity. At this point, it’s important that you seek out an intellectual property attorney who can help you honestly assess your options and your chances of success to ensure that it’s actually worth your time to go to court.
Options before filing a lawsuit:
Send a DMCA Takedown Notice – See our post here https://jhrlegal.com/how-to-stop-a-copycat-online-by-sending-a-dmca-takedown-notice-attorney-advertising/
Getting a Search Engine Involved – See our post here https://jhrlegal.com/getting-a-search-engine-involved-when-a-foreign-website-or-host-is-unresponsive-to-copyright-claims-attorney-advertising/
Notify the Web Host – See our post here https://jhrlegal.com/has-someone-stolen-your-content-heres-how-to-find-and-notify-the-web-host-attorney-advertising/
Getting Videos Removed – See our post here https://jhrlegal.com/how-to-get-a-video-removed-from-youtube-that-violates-your-copyright-attorney-advertising/
If you find yourself in this position today and you’d like to speak to our intellectual property attorneys about the next steps to take following an ignored Cease and Desist Letter, we invite you to contact our office at 888-666-0062 to schedule a consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.